Ajax star Christian Eriksen has turned down the opportunity to join Bayer Leverkusen, fuelling speculation that the Dane is holding out for a move to Liverpool.
The 21-year-old midfielder appears almost certain to leave the Amsterdam Arena this summer having entered the final year of his contract, but firm offers for his services have not been forthcoming as of yet despite reported interest from Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham Hotspur and Brendan Rodgers' side.
Eriksen himself admitted this week that he has not been officially approached by any club, but Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf today report that Bundesliga club Leverkusen have made the first official approach for the gifted midfielder, only for the player to politely decline their offer.
While not naming the Bundesliga club, Eriksen's agent Martin Schoots has also indicated that his client is solely focused on finding a move to a club that can meet his sporting ambition.
"Christian will only leave Ajax on sporting grounds, that's his main criteria," Schoots told Voetbal International.
The Denmark international's decision to turn down the German club will give Liverpool hope in their reported interest in Eriksen. Leverkusen has the advantage of being able to offer the midfielder Champions League football next term, unlike Liverpool who will sit out of European competition all together next season.
Rodgers and the Liverpool hierarchy will be hopeful that the club's stature will be enough to convince the highly rated Eriksen of a move to Merseyside, where the Dane's creative influence in midfield could significantly boost the Reds' chances of climbing back up the Premier League table.
Having already signed Kolo Toure, Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto and Simon Mignolet, Rodgers have indicated that he is now looking to add players to his squad who are capable of delivering an immediate impact in the first time. Eriksen, who played a pivotal role in Ajax's three consecutive Eredivisie titles successes, would certainly appear to be capable of having such an influence.
Eriksen is not the only Liverpool target to have been offered the opportunity to join Bayer Leverkusen during this transfer window. The midfielder's Ajax teammate Toby Alderweireld was seemingly on the brink of a move to the Bundesliga club before a failure to agree a fee with the Dutch club saw the move fall away.
Belgian international Alderweireld has since turned down the opportunity to join Norwich City and remains linked with a summer switch to Anfield.